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Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2
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Will Webster
Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2 on 01/14/2012 07:38:19 MST Print View

I'm looking for an upgrade to a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 and the choices are a bit bewildering. Requirements are:

> Actual weight in pack no heavier and preferably lighter than the UL2 at 45 oz with the factory footprint (see next point).
> Can set up and take down in the rain without the inside getting wet. This is difficult but possible with the UL2 if you use the factory footprint.
> Full mosquito protection with excellent ventilation (at the same time). We live and thus do most of our backpacking in the Mid-Atlantic, where summer nights can be sultry and bug-filled. The UL2 is bugproof but doesn't vent well enough, even with the fly off.
> Roomier than the UL2. I'm 5'-10", my wife is an inch or two shorter, and we're both medium build. It's possible for one of us to sit up in the UL2 if the other one scrunches way over to the side, or if the one sitting twists and leans uncomfortably. We want to both sit up comfortably.
> Can open doors without rain getting in. A definite weak point of the UL2.
> No poles inside living space.

My wife and I carry three adjustable trekking poles between the two of us. Looking at mostly AT-style conditions - night temperatures between the 80s and teens, plenty of mosquitoes (etc) in warm weather, blizzards and hurricanes unlikely. We go out for 2 - 4 nights at a time (so we usually have a good idea what weather to expect) although we're talking about extending that.

Right now I'm looking at two Tarptents; the Double Rainbow and the Stratospire 2. Plusses and minuses I see are:

Double Rainbow:
+ Can set up semi-freestanding if staking is a problem. Would still need to stake or tie off for the vestibules but those wouldn't require that much tension; could use rocks or small deadmen in snow (we've done this with the UL2).
- Single wall on top can mean condensation issues; reports that the 4 oz optional liner can drip on bags (and how much headroom does it lose?).
- Mesh and floor sewed to fly mean you can't remove and hang or shake condensation off the fly in the morning (or am I missing something?).
+ Porch for cooking or sitting in rain.
+ Pockets. I like 'em.
+ Cheaper than the SS2.

Stratospire 2:
- Relies on ridgeline tension to stay up; looks to me like you need very sturdy stakout or other sturdy tieout points for the main guys or the whole thing's going to sag and/or collapse; I don't think rocks would do it.
+ Full independent mesh inner means separation from roof condensation; can pitch fly or inner independently if conditions warrant; can divide load between two packs.
+ Possibility of a future fabric inner for a true double wall shelter would make winters much more comfortable.

Those are the relevant points that I can see; anything I'm missing/misunderstanding, or other options I should be considering?

Sergiy Sosnytskiy

Locale: Ukraine
Re: you can't remove and hang or shake condensation off the fly on 01/14/2012 10:39:26 MST Print View

>- Mesh and floor sewed to fly mean you can't remove and hang or shake condensation off the fly in the morning (or am I missing something?).

You can remove it with a piece of cloth, like a handkerchief.

Will Webster
Re: Re: you can't remove and hang or shake condensation off the fly on 01/14/2012 11:09:32 MST Print View

True; it isn't a deal killer but I still see it as a minus.

I guess the choice between the two - for my needs - boils down to modularity vs. ability to freestand. I get the impression that the majority of posters on these forums are using non-freestanding shelters so maybe it isn't really that big a deal. It's just a step I haven't gotten to yet.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

DR vs. SS2 on 01/14/2012 16:45:11 MST Print View

A quick analysis from the TT specs: The DR would be better for tall people with its longer floor (102" vs. 90"). It's also better if you need a freestanding shelter, since you can do so with trekking poles.

Otherwise though, the SS2 seems like the way to go. It's the same weight, the tent remains wide right up to the roof, unlike the DR which tapers narrower, the SS2 has taller vestibules and of course it's a double wall so you're totally protected from condensation. If you add the liner to the DR then you're heavier.

Todd T
(texasbb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: DR vs. SS2 on 01/14/2012 17:39:06 MST Print View

'A quick analysis from the TT specs: The DR would be better for tall people with its longer floor (102" vs. 90").'

Not sure I'm following that. The DR has an 88" floor, the SS2 86". But the SS2 is a double-wall, so the the 2" difference probably doesn't matter.

I have the Rainbow (not Double), which also has an 88" floor, and it works fine for me at 6'5". I'd expect the SS1 or SS2 to work equally well.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Floor Length on 01/14/2012 18:34:12 MST Print View

I just grabbed those length specs from the TT comparison table. That table could be wrong though, it's got the floor width of the SS2 wrong:


Todd T
(texasbb) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Floor Length on 01/14/2012 18:58:11 MST Print View

That must be total length, not floor length.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2 on 01/14/2012 19:16:29 MST Print View

Yes that chart is for the fly except for the floor area.(the weight is the total weight fly/inner/pegs)
The floor area is just that ,not the footprint of the fly.
You may get a better idea by going to the product page and clicking on "show dimensions" under specifications.
The mat is always the same size, 20"x72"

Yang Lu
Re: Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2 on 03/07/2012 07:53:31 MST Print View

Hi Will,

I am in the similar situation. I have a MSR Hubba Hubba (4 lb 5 oz) and want to cut some weight. I am thinking to upgrade to Fly Creek UL2 or StratoSpire 2. Also the new Fly Creek UL2 Platinum is coming out soon, which even lighter. I probably go with Platinum if not StratoSpire 2.

My wife and I are 5'6" and 5'10". Sometimes, we put two backpacks inside tent at foot. Did you get your new tent? How does it compare to Fly Creek?



Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
Double Rainbow on 03/07/2012 08:32:17 MST Print View

My first TT purchase was a Rainbow - LOVE it! Assumed I would equally love the Double Rainbow as a 2 person shelter.... I don't. Double Rainbow narrows significantly at the top, to the point of barely allowing 2 people to sit up in it (this included myself 5'8" medium build and my 12yo daughter 5'5" small build).
Still have the Double Rainbow, but we use a SMD Lunar Duo now - near vertical walls and bigger vestibules. Can't comment on the Stratospire 2.

Will Webster
Re: Re: Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2 on 03/07/2012 08:46:17 MST Print View

Yang, not long after I posted this my wife and I decided to go on an 8-day Sierra Club outing which will require a lot of new gear (bigger packs, dry bags, waterproof camera...) so the new shelter has been deferred.

Sarah, thanks for that posting; it's that sort of hands-on experience I was hoping for.


Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2 on 03/07/2012 08:53:32 MST Print View

I think the decision is easy. If you use trekking poles, get the SS2. If you don't, get the DR2. You really can't go wrong with either.

Yang Lu
Re: Re: Re: Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2 on 03/07/2012 09:25:45 MST Print View

Thanks David. Both my wife and I use trekking poles. This is exact decision point I was thinking of before I learned the Fly Creek Platinum is lighter than SS2.

From the spec SS2 weights 40oz including 6 stakes. This should be compared to Fly Creek 2 Platinum packed weight, which is 2 lb 3 oz. So the latter is about 5 ounces lighter. Not sure if the 5 oz saving is worth pursuing for the smaller tent.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Re: Re: Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2 on 03/07/2012 09:36:03 MST Print View

Yang, I am not a fan of front entry A-frame tents for two people as:

a.) there is no headroom for two should both want to sit up at the same time because of the A-frame design and

b.) a single vestibule at a single entry means climbing over gear (packs, shoes) when trying to get in or out of the shelter.

I like side entry shelters for two and given the two vestibules and two doors of the SS2, I think the extra 5 ounces is warranted.

It is less expensive as well, if that is a consideration.

Edited by FamilyGuy on 03/07/2012 09:48:24 MST.

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2 on 03/07/2012 09:45:24 MST Print View

" Not sure if the 5 oz saving is worth pursuing for the smaller tent."

Dramatically smaller, more expensive, and less liveable. It most certainly isn't "freestanding" as BA would have you believe.


Yang Lu
Re: Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2 on 03/07/2012 12:50:00 MST Print View

Thanks David and Henry.

Henry, good to know you are also hanging on this web site. I just sent you an email yesterday. :)

Henry Shires
(07100) - F - M
Re: Re: Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2 on 03/07/2012 14:09:13 MST Print View

And I sent you one back yesterday. Let me know if you didn't receive it.


Karen Kennedy
(karenk) - MLife

Locale: NE NSW - Australian subtropics
DR vs SS2 on 03/07/2012 17:13:54 MST Print View

Having owned both, I loved the DR whilst I had it, it was certainly light and the double side-entry doors provide hassle free access for two people, but the tapering towards the top does limit the internal space.

The SS2 on the other hand, is a veritable palace! Its vestibules are huge, internal space is extremely generous, and access is outstanding. Staking to achieve ridgeline tension has not proved an issue - it would be no more than the tension needed to pitch a tarp, for example. There is also the flexibility to pitch the inner (net) tent only, important for us in the subtropics. I will be first to queue up for a solid inner too, for cold weather use. A solid inner as well as the net tent would make this a truly flexible shelter system.

SS2 gets my vote without question!

Thanks Henry for a sensational design. My GF quipped when she first saw it "How did they get this tent - stitch two halves together the wrong way??" Gear freaks will be amused by the next part of the quote "So this looks like a tent that KK doesn't have - she'll buy one! Let's put it on the market!!"

Seriously, it's a great tent.


Aaron Harmer
(Barbarossa) - F
Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2 on 09/26/2012 22:19:43 MDT Print View

Hi guys, I'm new to the forum and realise this thread is a few months old but hoping someone is still following.

My wife and I are looking for a new tent, to be used mostly in NSW, but initially for the Overland Track in Tassie this December. I'm torn between the DR and SS2 for these reasons:

+ More internal space and can keep our gear inside the tent
+ Double wall, and can be set up fly only or inner only
+ If the fly is wet I can strap it to my pack to dry while keeping the inner dry inside my pack
- The fly has a huge footprint (3m x 2.18m) so am worried about fitting onto small sites, especially on the Overland Track where I believe you need to pitch on the platforms.

+ More compact footprint so can fit just about anywhere
+ Can be free standing if necessary and don't need trekking poles or extra poles
- Single wall so am concerned about condensation getting on our down bags (I realise their is an inner attachment but not sure how much this reduces space inside)
-The floor/mesh is attached to the fly so if there is condensation/rain I can't pack the inner away separately to keep it dry

Any suggestion here would be great.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Double Rainbow vs Stratospire 2 on 09/26/2012 23:21:27 MDT Print View

Can't find a single source to tell me the exact size of the OT platforms but they are a lot bigger than either tent.
Close to 4m on one side and over 3 on the other.
Here is one :
OT platform

(the DR is 3 planks wider)
I had my Rainbow on the platform next to that one and it was exactly the same size.
Take some spare picture hooks and spare bits of guylines.

Edited by Franco on 09/26/2012 23:22:24 MDT.